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Subject: Roles you do not like to pick rss

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Mark Schlatter
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In looking over my games, I've realized that I rarely pick the trader. This may be due to winning my first game with a shipping strategy or rarely getting into coffee, but basically it just feels wrong to focus on raising cash when I could be earning shipping points. (Yes, I realize I'm approaching this more on a philosophical basis than a best-gameplay basis, but hey, I'm more focused on fun than sheer optimizing.)

So here are my questions:

1) It is possible to play well while avoiding the trader?

2) Are there other roles that people avoid picking whenever possible?
 
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Brian Newman
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
mschlat (#476156),

I avoid the Prospector. I figure that, if I can't do anything productive on a turn, I haven't been planning well.
 
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
Pretty simple. I don't pick the roles that will benefit my opponents more than they benefit me. 5vp
 
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Paul Kidd
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
I agree with Fawkes - if you are playing the best you can, every role will at some point be the right one to pick.
 
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Golden Lotus
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
Blackberry wrote:

I avoid the Prospector. I figure that, if I can't do anything productive on a turn, I haven't been planning well.


Making 3 Doubloons isn't productive?
(I'll concede I don't generally pick the Prospector without some 'incentive' )
 
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Jeff Finazzo
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
I usually pick the prospector if I'm left in a position that picking anything else will help someone more than myself. I view it more a way out if I've somehow let myself get played into a corner.
 
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John McMillan
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
I find that I almost never pick the mayor, unless there are multiple doubloons on it, or course.

Sure, you may get short-changed by one colonist if the player on your left takes Mayor, but in my opinion, Mayor benefits all players too evenly to make it worth picking regularly. There's always some newbie willing to take Mayor again and again.

I think it's better to focus on controlling the ships and trading house by selecting Captain and Trader early and often.
 
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John Weber
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
mschlat (#476156),

To go back to your original question, I had a game the other day where I was able to win while relying on another player (my right hand opponent in a four-player game) to pick trader. The game had developed where I had managed an early tobacco trade, then he had developed tobacco, so I took the proceeds from the tobacco trade and developed coffee. (The tobacco actually wound up on a boat for awhile.) Later in the game, every time my right hand opponent took trader to trade tobacco (he eventually had both large and small markets to supplement his income) I benefitted by trading too and then, going after him, I had first choice of buildings. I bought the harbor and the Guild Hall and won the game by a substantial margin, whereas my right hand opponent was able to come home second. I shipped very little early in the game but to my astonishment had over 30 shipping VPs by game end, which is alot considering I was also able to build out to max the GHall as well.

An important corollary to the above general advice -- don't pick a role that benefits your opponents more than you -- is to try to put yourself in a position where the other players have an incentive to pick a role that also benefits you, leaving you free to pick another role that improves your position overall relative to the other players. Easier said than done, sometimes, just happened to work out in this case (and it didn't hurt that I had drawn the #1 corn seat on the random draw for seat position, either).
 
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
Quote:
jmcmilla wrote:
Sure, you may get short-changed by one colonist if the player on your left takes Mayor, but in my opinion, Mayor benefits all players too evenly to make it worth picking regularly.


Caveat. In many cases, picking the Mayor is more about manning certain buildings NOW rather than having more slaves. It's the timing, not the slaves. Say, you just built the the Small Warehouse, Harbor or Wharf, and you're pretty sure that Craftsman/Captain is coming up soon. You've got to consider taking the Mayor, because if Craftsman/Captain goes off without your nice new building being manned, it'll cost you dearly.
 
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Jonathan Tang
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
Mayor can also be used offensively to end the game before your opponents complete their strategy. arrrh
 
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Eric Nielsen
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
Overall, I see the roles as:

Strong: Captain, Builder, Trader
Medium: Mayor, Prospector
Weak: Settler, Craftsman

There's a strong correllation between frequent selection of strong roles and winning. While this is completely useless in determining what role is the best choice in a given situation, it does show that you should try to steer the game so you are the one selecting the strong roles.

Mayor would be classified as "weak" were it not for the strong offensive capabilities of taking mayor. In the early middlegame, a player with a colonist lead can cripple several opponents at once by continuing to take mayor. Unlike money shortages, there is only one practical way to fix a colonist shortage.
 
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Anders Nordström
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
Fawkes (#476864),

Let me point out that there are no slaves in this game... They may be brown, work on our plantations and arrive on boats via in a on-demand number, but the rules clearly state that they are COLONISTS...

 
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L S
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Re:Roles you do not like to pick
mschlat (#476156),
it just feels wrong to focus on raising cash when I could be earning shipping points.
I'd encourage you to read some of the basic strategy guides here. Raising cash is DEFINITELY more important than earning shipping points, at least all the way until mid game. In early game, usually people say 2.5VPs == 1 doubloon. In other words, if you have a chance to get $1 or get 2 victory points, then get the $1. The rationale is very simple for early game: money helps you buy buildings, and those help you in the long run to get more victory points. For example, if you just ship like crazy without getting an income source in early game, and your opponent builds up income, then in early game you'll be leading him but once mid game rolls around and he has factory/harbor, then he'll cream you.


As for prospector, it's a great role to pick, I'm not sure why people are downplaying it in this thread. Prospector gives you (at least) $1, and gives your opponents nothing. In later game, it of course starts getting less important, but it's definitely an often-taken role in early game.

As for mayor, there are strategies that revolve around starving your opponents of colonists, but I would still generally avoid taking it often unless you really have a handle on strategy. When in doubt, avoid it. Just remember that if you have buildings to occupy, chances are your opponents do too so one of them might pick mayor. Mayor is one of the roles here that people often talk about making stronger in some way.

As for trader, yes, you can play well while avoiding taking the trader, as long as you're able to trade when other people pick it :-). I suppose you can do o.k. without trader period if you get a lot of bribes then pick up something like factory, but that seems a losing strategy most of the time.
 
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Pete
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mschlat wrote:
In looking over my games, I've realized that I rarely pick the trader. This may be due to winning my first game with a shipping strategy or rarely getting into coffee, but basically it just feels wrong to focus on raising cash when I could be earning shipping points. (Yes, I realize I'm approaching this more on a philosophical basis than a best-gameplay basis, but hey, I'm more focused on fun than sheer optimizing.)

So here are my questions:

1) It is possible to play well while avoiding the trader?

2) Are there other roles that people avoid picking whenever possible?
Here is my heirarchy of cards I want to take vs. cards I take begrudginly. Please note I almost always play 5-player games.

1. Captain:

As far as I understand the game, the whole point of it is to be the one who takes the Captain. You get to choose what goes on the ships, you get the bonus victory point, and you get to deny others from trading their goods and force spoilage. There are other strategies, but the primary one in this game is to set yourself up to take the Captain card.

I sometimes take the Captain even when nobody has any goods, to ensure that some idiot doesn't draw a Craftsman and let someone else take the captain.

2. Trader:

The most efficient way to build income is to use the Trader card. Ideally, you produce a high-income good (tobacco or Coffee). If so, the Trader card will get you a large income and, most likely either one or no other player will be able to match it. The bonus gold piece(s) should ensure economic superiority.

3. Prospector:

Here I differ with most posters on this site. I love taking the prospector. I get one (or more) doubloons, and nobody else gets squat. More imporantly, taking the prospectors forces others to take the remaining 5 cards, all of which help you more in the long run than if you took them yourself, because you'll get to exploit them faster.

4. Builder:

Everyone gets to build, so this is a fairly neutral card. The person who draws this card gets a +1 gold bonus to building, but he also is typically the last person to take full advantage of the new building (by pulling one of the other roles). I try to avoid taking the builder unless I have money and nobody else does.

5. Settler:

Everybody gets a plantation, so this is also a fairly neutral card. Early in the game, I'll draw this card to get one or two Quarries, but after that, I try my best to let someone else draw it for me.

6. Mayor:

Everybody gets colonists, but this is not a neutral card. Unless you're desperate to get more colonists than your opponents or have a burning need to acquire/move colonists, this is a sucker card to draw. The person immediatly to your left will sing your praises when you take it, because he'll probably have a field day with his next turn. Even with an 'imbalanced boat' you have to think long and hard before you take the mayor.

7. Craftsman:

Even when it looks like a good move, I always end up regretting taking the Craftsman. Sure I get a bonus good, and sure, it looks great when you close out a supply of goods and deny others production, but when you take the craftsman, sometime in the next 2 draws, you're going to get screwed. Taking the Craftsman typcially means you're last to trade or last to load your goods on a boat, and you will routinely get locked out of both if your opponents know what they're doing. So you got an extra barrel...what good does it do you when it spoils? Most games there'd have to be a bright yellow 5-point doubloon counter on the Craftsman before I dare take it, but mercifully there are usually players who will draw it far sooner.

EXCEPTION: Mayor and Craftsman

The worst thing that can possibly happen to you in Puerto Rico is to be sitting to the right of some jerk that can't resist taking the Mayor and/or Craftsman every turn. In this situation, consider taking both cards freely. You've probably already lost the game, because you're going to be suffering the above-mentioned drawbacks, but you might as well get some bonuses out of it. Also, maybe the idiot to your right doesn't know how to play the other cards either.

Pete (doesn't consider himself an expert but wins more than his fair share of games)
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I typically try to avoid taking the craftsman, unless of course I am out producing everybody.
Someone will always take the craftsman, they just cant resist. Same with the mayor.
 
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